The many benefits of meditation can be grouped into two categories. In the first, we find all of the improvements to our health and general well-being that mindfulness is known for, including stress reduction, improved focus and resilience. The benefits in the second category are more subtle. Thanks to awareness meditation, we gain insights into how the mind works. These insights open the heart and enable us to work with the mind in a more skillful, positive way that benefits ourselves and others.
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness practice has received a lot of scientific attention and positive press in recent years due to the many health benefits of meditation. Studies have shown that sitting mindfully for a period of time each day can lead to:
- more calmness and mental stability
- increased focus, ability to concentrate, attention to details and productivity
- less emotional distress, anxiety and stress
- better sleep
In sum, people who practice regularly find that mindfulness contributes to an overall sense of well-being, capability and contentment.
Among the many positive outcomes of stress reduction, for example, scientific studies point to a heartier immune system, lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of stress-related illnesses. The ability to focus and remain concentrated gives the mind space to make informed decisions and effectively determine priorities. And anyone who’s ever had a sleepless night knows what a gift quality sleep can be. On the whole, by giving ourselves just a few minutes of mindful “me” time each day, we begin to feel calmer and happier, and we find that life’s inevitable challenges are becoming more workable.
Benefits of Awareness Meditation
When we practice awareness, we learn to work more deeply with the mind, leading to profound and abiding insights into its nature and the nature of the thoughts and emotions that arise within it. Based on our understanding, we can actually disrupt – and ultimately uproot – tendencies that cause us to react to situations in non-beneficial ways. We learn not to respond with stress, panic, or anger. Our self-importance and attachment to coming out on top begin to decrease. This vital transformation can lead to remarkable changes in our lives.
Qualities associated with increased awareness include:
- increased flexibility, understanding and tolerance
- more realistic expectations of oneself and others
- more compassion and kindness
- improved self-esteem and genuine confidence
- positive emotional responses and relationships
With awareness, we become more open and tolerant – we recognize that we genuinely care about others. This interest in the well-being of others outshines our own fears and anxieties, which can take up a lot of space otherwise. And the beauty of it is, the more we focus on benefiting others, the better we feel!
Our sense of well-being is informed by the early benefits of mindfulness, as well as the long-lasting benefits of a spacious, insightful mind. And the perks don’t stop here – as we gain more understanding, we naturally become good examples for others. Our well-being is contagious! The spaciousness and kindness we experience naturally radiate out into our world. We all have networks of families, friends and coworkers who are dealing with their own problems and challenges. Our skill at listening, our empathy, non-judgment, calm demeanor and ability to be truly present are the best gifts we can offer them.
Mindworks App and website provide guidance for our journey through the progressive levels of mindfulness practice, calming the mind and giving it space to distance itself from the usual barrage of thoughts and emotions. There are also instructions for awareness meditation, a practice that can lead to genuine personal transformation. The combination of mindfulness and awareness are traditionally described as being like the two wings of a bird – when we bring them together with discernment and dedication, they can transport us to lasting positive change.
And yes, all of this begins with stopping what we’re doing and sitting down to meditate a few minutes a day. If we practice with sincerity and consistency, we can’t help but notice a refreshing change in our way of thinking. Rather than feeling helpless and finding fault with the world, we find ourselves feeling joyful and empowered.
There’s an inexhaustible reservoir of goodness within us just waiting to be discovered. Ultimately, meditation shows us how to become the best human beings we can be – and that’s who we truly are.